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Activation on 6m or 10m?

I’m going to attempt a SOTA/POTA activation with my new FT818ND Saturday. I’m only going to be able to use Tech bands since I’m not taking my General test until Sunday. Is it worth trying these two bands or should I just stick to 2m?

Thanks!

Connections on 6m and 10m are currently uncertain and rather rare. The bigger the success and the satisfaction if it works.

If I were you, I would take a 2m antenna to be sure of being able to do qsos … and pack antennas for 6m and 10m to have the special charm. Good luck!

73 Armin

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I’m taking the 2m slim jim, definitely. With it being in the middle of nowhere I’m just a bit concerned about getting 4 contacts. Worst case I’ll take another trip down after I get my general and work 10/20/40. :slight_smile:

Hi Richard,
It depends on the time of the day you are planning to be on air, but in case you will be on air at around your noon time in this time of the year, you shouldn’t have any problems to qualify on 10m.
Have a look, please, to the following activation report and you’ll see how it went for me a recent 10m only activation.

Regarding 6m, I believe it’s more tricky and I’d consider qualification on that band only much riskier .

73 and good luck on your activation,

Guru

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I agree with Guru, there is sporadic E (Es) propagation on ten most days at present, though the summer Es season will start to wind down in a few weeks time.

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And a good chance of 100+ miles groundwave to stations with a low noise floor.

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For VHF/UHF activations the best plan is to post an alert when you know when and where and spot once you are on frequency. Let your local friends/SOTA activators know where and when to look for you. I recently completed an activation using 6M CW, 6M SSB, 6M FM, 2M SSB, 2M FM, 220 FM and 440 FM. My contacts were all line of sight ranging from 50 miles to 150 miles. Since all of those (except 220) are available to you on your FT818 you should have great success.
Good luck! Joe AA0BV

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Why not use the Tech allocation on 80, 40, or 15?

A tip for your 818 to use one antenna for 2 & 6 meters. Get a 5/8 wave 2 meter telescoping antenna, with minor adjustment to the length that will be a 1/4 wave on 6 meters. Attach a 48 -54 inch length of wire to the ground screw on the back of the 818 for a counterpoise. There you go, 2 bands one antenna, and if using SSB just lay the radio and counterpoise horizontal - if/as much as possible. I have done this, though not on a SOTA activation, and it does work.

Good Luck on your activation, focus on having fun and learning your new radio - the contacts will happen.

73,
Howard

Yes! You should definitely operate 10 meters. It may take some patience, you may not get pileups. But that just makes the successful contacts even more rewarding. If you are activating a joint SOTA/POTA then I recommend self-spotting on both SOTAWatch and the WWFF cluster to increase your odds. If you have any local friends, let them know to look for you on 10. If you are on around 1800 UTC, maybe check for the 10-10 International Net on 28.380.

Don’t limit yourself to calling CQ, dial around and see if you hear anyone. And with the QSB that has been common lately, make sure you don’t leave a lot of “dead time” between CQ’s. It’s very possible that you’ll work a station that will disappear just a few minutes later,so you may want to work chasers quickly rather than rag-chew. If someone drops out mid-QSO, don’t give up!

Good luck! And, good luck on that General exam on Sunday!

73 de KR7RK

Richard, you may have a bit of a challenge in my opinion on those bands.

I would suggest (perhaps for next time) building a BX-184 auto voice keyer from https://www.box73.com/ into your mike. This will greatly increase your chances of making 4 contacts as you may have to call repeatedly for an extended period on 2m, 6m, or 10m. With the BX-184 you remove your mortal voice from the equation. Mine has been reliable for years and has saved me more than once. Its great to be exhausted after hiking up the summit, then hang your 817 on a tree branch with a telescoping whip on 2m and set the BX-184 calling while you eat a sandwich and have something to drink while having a seat.

Be sure you are getting 5w (6w on an 818 I think) out of the rig with high enough voltage batteries. Perhaps consider this setup from windcamp without the stand https://www.amazon.com/WINDCAMP-3000mah-Polymer-Lithium-Battery/dp/B01LW3X1EB Its also very reliable

If you can shift your activation to some time before 10AM local (say 8 to 10am local), you should try 144.205 SSB as there is an informal gathering there daily in the mornings over an extended region in the US/Canada.

Home brew or quick order a 2m yagi if possible and aim at the closest big cities…this has been a great help on 2m FM in the past for me. Be sure to have your polarization vertical for FM and horizontal for SSB. I have found that I need to be loud on 2m FM to get people’s attention as they are typically not looking for DX on FM, particularly if I find two hams rag chewing on 2m FM simplex. They are always happy to work me—but they aren’t specifically looking for DX so they have their squelch up.

On 2m SSB people are looking for DX, but there are far fewer listeners—so for me many activations I work about the same number of people on SSB as I do on FM 2m.

If at all possible, use a fiberglass pole or something to get your 2m antenna above the treetops. This makes a huge difference—larger difference than I would have expected.

If you can run APRS in some way, even on your phone over the internet (or perhaps best on your phone), run a beacon and let people know on your alert that you will run a beacon, that way they can follow your progress and have time to prepare or plan properly to work you even if you are late or early.

Check out the ARRL September 2018 VHF contest results for your area. Look for big stations in the results that might have a shot at working you. Email the big guns you identified ahead of time and ask if you can make a sked with them on 2m SSB to see if they can work you. Ask if they know others who would be interested in trying you. Many of these folks are looking for a challenge and they have huge beams.

As long as you have the rig with you, also try 70cm simplex. It would be a small extra rubber duck or something and you might get lucky.

Finally, if you are feeling enterprising you might try running FT-8 and the other WSJT modes on 10m and 6m. Those modes are extremely impressive and make things possible you might not have imagined.

Oh and congratulations on taking the exam! Best of luck to you!
73,
Tom, N2YTF
W1 Area Manager

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Don’t keep us in suspense, how did it go?

73,
Tom